Texans Most Improved Player


The Houston Texans started the season with Vernon Hargreaves III and Terrance Mitchell as outside cornerbacks. Yes, Nick Caserio opened the door to disaster by re-signing Hargreaves III, and disaster precipitated in predictable fashion. Houston eventually relented releasing Hargreaves III and moved Desmond King out of position to the outside cornerback position.

This was boosted by Tavierre Thomas’ performance in the slot. Thomas played King better than King, and as a result, Houston found a profitable starter to play hook, chase and tackle, and look to poach passes in zone coverage.

Pro Football Focus recently named each team’s Most Improved Player. For the Houston Texans, Thomas was the easy pick.


PFF grade change from 2020 to 2021: 50.2 → 77.6 (+27.4)

Thomas had one of the most underrated seasons in the league this year. Until last season, the 2018 undrafted free agent had played just 237 snaps in significant NFL games for the Browns. Last year, Thomas became the nickel for Houston, and he was one of the best there. Thomas posted one of the five highest slot coverage ratings in the NFL and allowed the fewest yards per slot coverage slam (0.50).

We know what Thomas can do. He can play area coverage, chase and tackle, fill in and adapt to running game. We don’t know if he can play the men’s cover. These representatives came sparingly. Maybe 2022 will answer that question.

Anyway, for now Thomas is the nickel corner of the team in 2022. He has been one of the few bright spots in a dark season.

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